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June 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A 53-year-old woman who told judges on NBC’s America’s Got Talent Tuesday night that she had earned her living for the past 20 years singing in New York subway terminals received a standing, cheering ovation from the studio audience and a bounty of acclamations from the judging panel after her performance of the 1961 Etta James hit “At Last.” “What an amazing voice,” judge Howie Mandel told the singer, Alice Tan Ridley. “I love what you did and you deserve to be heard by much more than everybody on the train.” Commented Sharon Osbourne: “Alice, millions of people must have gone back and forth on that subway over the 20 years. How come nobody signed you?” What the judges were apparently not aware of was the fact that Ridley is the mother of Gabourey Sidibe, who received an Oscar nomination for Precious. In a backstage interview with host Nick Cannon, Ridley said, “My daughter is a big star but I’m still pursuing my dream which is to become a great singer. … Maybe this is it, from the subway to the big stage.” The telecast averaged 9.11 million viewers.